How to Apply Agile Methodology to a Software Startup?

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Software development is a highly lucrative and exciting career choice both for fresh graduates and established professionals. Coupled with a software startup work environment, software development can give way to innovative and attractive software solutions. However, settling for a daily workflow can be tough, especially with numerous projects on the agenda and different personalities clashing to be heard.


An agile methodology can be highly effective in these circumstances as it can help teams achieve greater focus and productivity. This is done thanks to an agile (no pun intended) workflow which emphasizes task differentiation and collaborative processes. But how do you apply agile to an up-and-coming software startup? Let’s find out.


1.Short-term milestones, long-term goals

Working in an agile software development environment allows for numerous discrepancies. As it stands, studies show that 12% of projects fail due to unclear, undefined deliverables. This is often a product of setting a final goal without working out the necessary development milestones in between.

Agile allows software developers to set different tracks of milestones and jump between them based on what they feel like at the moment. Jordan Rowland, a UI copywriter at ResumesCentre spoke about his experience with writing UI copy: “Clients ask me to write text for their user interfaces at very different intervals. Some do it before coding and others before final shipping – both of which work well for me. I’m glad that developers are able to retrofit the development process to their liking without worrying about a linear progression.”

You might feel like writing the back-end code today but don’t want to bother with UI integration just yet. In agile, you can easily do both in whichever order you choose and delegate the tasks according to each person’s skillset and mood of the day. This leads to a much higher quality of end product as well as the retention of software developers due to an inviting work environment being present.

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2.Daily team check-ins

Software development is a fickle process – one bug or unmonitored process can cause a chain reaction of revisions and investigation. However, an agile methodology allows for a more collaborative, lenient approach to project updates. Small Biz published a statistic recently, stating that 90% of startups fail due to the misalignment of startup goals and the mismanagement of business growth. This means that it is pivotal for software startup teams to remain cohesive and work towards common goals.

James Scott, CEO of EssaySupply spoke about his own experience managing a startup: “My website started as a small outsourcing venture before it developed into what it is today. In the early days, managing the team was difficult since we all worked remotely. Since then, we have established a daily routine and we rarely stray away from it.”

Daily team meetings can be utilized to ensure that everyone is onboard with that day’s focus and milestones. It can also be used to assign work to each team member, have everyone share their goals with others in the office as well as to bounce interesting ideas to the team. Daily check-in is a treasure of agile development which should be implemented as soon as possible in a software startup.

Changing up the daily routine with new types of meetings can be tricky, but you can help your team follow the new framework by using agile project management software, which often includes modules for scheduling checkins, sharing feedback from meetings, and more.


3. Emphasize collaboration, discourage individualization

While it is a mouthful, collaboration should always take precedent over individualization in a software startup environment. This cannot be overstated since implementing agile methodology does help maintain healthy teamwork. You can easily assign work based on skillsets and personalities which might work well with one another. It will discourage individualists to pursue their own work without checking in with anyone else.

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This will also help maintain a steady feedback system without having to worry about someone working on their own with no supervision. Clyde Bate, co-founder of FlashEssay spoke about his work delegation habits as a project manager: “It’s always difficult to assign work to specific team members – and it never gets easy. The secret to delegating work accordingly is to lump people into splinter groups and have them collaborate without your constant watch. That way, you will create a micromanagement-free environment and develop today’s team members into tomorrow’s leaders.”

Collaboration should always take precedent, even if software startup team members work remotely in their off hours. Project management platforms are plentiful on the web which means that there is no excuse for anyone to work individually and not bounce their ideas and progress back to someone else.


4. Settle for “something”

Software development is a long-term game, meaning that short deadlines and quick turnaround time rarely bear concrete fruit. According to statistics 46% of startups cite “incompetence” as the leading cause for their failure. There is no point in sticking to a single project if doubt creeps in and numerous other ventures wait to be explored. After all, it can be detrimental to the morale of the development team to simply shrug their shoulders if a client asks about the current progress of their project.

With that said software developers can apply an agile methodology to their projects and shift between tasks without burning out. Once a certain milestone or criteria has been fulfilled on an active project, the team can shift to a different one in order to keep things fresh, “agile”, and productive.

As a result, team motivation will remain high and the software startup will have something to show to each client at every check-in they make. Alternatively, a software startup can lead itself into a corner with a single project and neglect all the other ones without any success on either front. Avoid team exhaustion and friction at all costs through agile workflow in order to get more things done in a shorter time span.

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Agile software development is a much better alternative to linear design philosophy. More can be done in less time and with more concrete proof to show for it. The agile methodology doesn’t require specialized training or overly complex planning. It encourages creativity, productivity and active development with little to no downtime.

Make sure to test an agile methodology such as Scrum in your own software development to see whether or not this type of workflow suits your team. After all, there’s no harm in trying out a new trick or two in order to pinpoint what it is that works the best for your team’s mindset.


Author’s bio

Jessica Fender is a professional writer, independent blogger, and passionate trend explorer. Featured on Trust Radius and Addicted2Success. You can follow her on Twitter @fender_jess to never miss a new post.


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One Comment

  1. Jesenia Hernandez

    These are all excellent and simple steps to implement agile in business.
    Agile works very well in projects where more is unknown than known.  This is common in software development projects which is why I can see how effective this methodology would be in a tech startup. 
    In software development, end users somewhat know what they want – the requirement evolves over time. For example, end user thinks they need some kind of a shape. You start with something like a circle and after an iteration the requirement might  change  from circle to square. After another iteration it might change from square to square filled with some color. The requirements evolve. Agile methodology has the framework to support the “unknown” throughout the project life cycle.

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